RaboDirect PRO12: Ulster given a scare by Treviso in Italy on Friday night
Last Updated: 23/11/12 9:29pm
RaboDirect PRO12 leaders Ulster were given a scare by Treviso before running out 16-15 winners in Friday's clash in Italy.
The Italians threatened an upset at half-time as tries from Brendan Williams and Ludovico Nitoglia had Treviso 15-10 up, while Peter Nelson replied for the visitors.
Niall O'Connor added two further penalties in the second half to preserve Ulster's 100 per cent record while Treviso have 13 points from nine league games.
The hosts took the lead in the sixth minute when fluid movement from the backs ended in a try for Williams, which was converted by Alberto di Bernardo.
Nick Williams was denied a 17th-minute try thanks to an inconclusive video replay, before O'Connor got the visitors on the board with a penalty after Treviso had collapsed a scrum.
Six minutes later, Paul Marshall's quickly-tapped penalty caught out the home defence and he supplied Tom Court, who in turn fed Nelson to cross in the corner. O'Connor's conversion from wide had the visitors 10-7 ahead.
However, the hosts hit back with Di Bernardo's penalty squaring the scores after half an hour, then eight minutes later Nitoglia exposed another post-scrum gap down the Ulster right to slide over in the corner. Bernardo's conversion gave the hosts a five-point lead at the interval.
Ulster started the second slowly but were given hope when a Treviso offside gave O'Connor the chance to score his second short-range penalty of the evening.
The visitors were denied a try when the TMO was faced with the impossible task of determining whether Nick Williams had grounded amid a mass of bodies.
The lead changed hands decisively in the 58th minute when O'Connor got his angles right from wide out.
Treviso rallied but a 72nd-minute penalty proved well out of Di Bernardo's range - and five minutes later he squandered a great chance from a more promising position after John Afoa had been pulled up for coming in from the side.
It meant the home side only had a losing bonus point to show from a strong performance, while Ulster were grateful for a win from a game they failed to impress in.